Ryan throws for 4 TDs to lead Falcons over Bucs 43-28

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Tampa, Florida (AP) — NFL passing yardage leader Matt Ryan was nearly flawless again Thursday, as he threw for 344 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions to help Atlanta beat Tampa Bay 43-28, tightening its grip on the NFC South lead.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of their NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 3, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter of their NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 3, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Jason Behnken)

“He had a real locked-in look about him,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “Matt’s really been on point with where to go with the ball.”

Julio Jones had eight receptions for 111 yards and a TD as the Falcons (6-3) avenged a season-opening loss to the Buccaneers (3-5) in Atlanta.

“They played a little better than we did that day. I feel like we have continued to improve,” Ryan said. “For me, the best thing from a confidence standpoint is that we continue to get better, week in and week out.”

Jones, who’s closing in on another 1,000-yard receiving season with 970 through nine games, caught a 3-yard scoring pass in the third quarter, when Ryan led TD drives of 86 and 82 yards to break the game open.

Levine Toilolo, Patrick DiMarco and Austin Hooper also caught TD passes from Ryan, who leads the NFL with 2,980 yards and 23 touchdowns vs. four interceptions.

Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston threw for 261 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring passes of 3 and 24 yards to Mike Evans, who had 11 receptions.

Both of Tampa Bay’s young stars finished the game on the sideline, with Evans being evaluated for a possible concussion and Winston limping off after being shaken up when he was tackled trying to score on a two-point conversion play with just under seven minutes remaining.

“The coach took me out,” said Winston, who later did a little dance to demonstrate to reporters that he was OK.

Replacement QB Mike Glennon finished up for the Bucs, taking his first regular season snaps since 2014. He threw a late TD pass to Cameron Brate to cut into a 23-point deficit.